Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Reversing Decline

Is America in decline?
"The question has been catnip for the chattering classes for decades, especially during the Obama presidency. And now we have a presidential candidate who vows to “make America great again. Says Donald Trump: Our country is in serious trouble. We don't win anymore. We don't beat China in trade. .  .  . We can't do anything right. The problem is military as well as economic, he says: I don't mind fighting, but you have got to win, and .  .  . we don't win wars, we just fight, we just fight. It's like .  .  . you're vomiting: just fight, fight, fight.

"The Trumpian version of American decline channels the anguish of residents in what Charles Murray has called Fishtown, a neighborhood in Philadelphia that has been white working class since the Revolution. The problems of America's left-behind middle class are not simply economic but social; they're not just relatively poorer and more frequently unemployed than they used to be, they're also less likely to be married or to form stable families. By all of Murray's metrics—industriousness, honesty, and religiosity among them—their America has come apart, unraveled. Their response, as expressed in enthusiasm for Trump, has been to embrace a kind of blood-and-soil nationalism."

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